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The Complete Guide to Sex Toy Cleaning

By: Emily Fata

Guide to Sex Toy Cleaning

Nobody likes to talk about cleaning up - but that doesn't make it any less important, especially when it comes to dildos, vibrators, and other sex toys. Apart from anything else, cleaning your toys properly means that they will be in good condition and ready to go when you next want to use them.

That's not the only reason to keep things clean. Give your toys the attention they deserve, and they'll last a whole long longer than they otherwise might.

As toys are often made from a range of different materials, cleaning might seem like a complicated task. It's not. If we break down toys into a few broad categories, picking the correct cleaning routine becomes a pretty easy job.

Sharing toys

Everyone loves to share, but with insertable sex toys that comes with a big caveat. If you plan to share your toys with other people, you need to be extra careful when it comes to cleaning. It would be best if you were extra careful when it comes to selecting what toys you use since some can't be cleaned effectively enough to share.

If you want to share toys, you can save yourself much trouble by covering each toy with a condom before use, or sticking to pure silicone, steel, or glass toys. These kinds of toys will stand up to rigorous cleaning, and (with a little care and patience) can be made safe to share.

What are my sex toys made of?

Many sex toys are made from silicone, PVC, rubber, or a mix of these materials. These materials are used because they're body-safe, but also soft, pliable, and pleasant to touch. You can also find toys that are made of steel and glass. What your toys are made of will determine how they are cleaned.

Sometimes it's obvious what a sex toy is made out of. Sometimes it's not; toys that feel like silicone or rubber might be a mix of the two. If you're unsure of the material you're dealing with, it's best to consult the packaging. If you order sex toys online, it's also possible to look up the original listing to find out what a toy is made from.

Cleaning silicone

Pure silicone is a resilient, non-porous material, which makes it nice and easy to clean (as well as great for making all kinds of sex toys). If you're the only one using the toy, a thorough wash with an appropriate toy cleaner and hot water should be sufficient.

If you plan on sharing the toy in question, you should use something stronger. A ten percent dilute bleach solution is perfect, but a reasonably strong disinfectant will also do the job. Don't forget to rinse off any residue from cleaning agents before allowing the toy to dry, though!

Cleaning rubber and plastic

Rubber, plastic, and non-pure silicone are porous, which makes them very difficult to clean. The best you can do is use hot water and soap and scrub them thoroughly. Let them dry out completely before you put them away.

Even when toys made from porous materials look clean, they might not be. Because of this, rubber and plastic toys (as well as toys made from a mix of different materials) should never be shared. Once you've played with a given toy, it's yours forever.

Cleaning glass and steel

Glass and steel are both resilient materials, and not at all absorbent. This means you can use much harsher cleaning methods on them. You can clean glass and steel toys with a dilute bleach solution, or boil them for ten minutes between uses in order to sterilize them.

A word of caution, though - you'll want to protect your glass or steel toys from chips and scratches. Handle them with care, and inspect them before each use to ensure that they don't have even the smallest scratch or chip. If they do, it's time to go shopping for a new toy. Playing with a damaged toy isn't worth the risk.

Cleaning other materials

Some toys are made out of a combination of the above materials, or out of other synthetic materials. In the case of these toys (or if you're not sure what your toy is made of), it's best to err on the side of caution. Don't share it with anyone else, and make sure to clean it thoroughly with toy cleaner and hot water between each use.

Mind your lubes!

Very little will degrade sex toys faster than using the wrong kind of lube. If you want to play it safe, then stick to water-based lubricants, which are safe to use with almost any toy. Silicone-based lubricants are a bit trickier - you'll find that they don't mix well with some silicone and rubber toys, or with certain types of condom.

How to store your sex toys

Once your toys are clean and dry, you can put them safely away until you next want to play. Whether you keep them in a drawer, a toy chest, or a box under the bed is up to you - but you should invest in some bags to store them in. Sex toys last longer if they're kept separate from one another.

Why is this? Well, some of the materials sex toys are made from can be lightly reactive to one another. If you throw all your silicone toys into the same drawer you might soon find that they've melted into a gooey mess or become stuck to one another. That's not a great end to the life of any sex toy, and will certainly put an end to any fun you might have had!


The proper cleaning and storage of your sex toy collection isn't the most exciting topic imaginable, but it is worth knowing about. After all, well-cared-for sex toys will last a whole lot longer, and provide you with much more joy, excitement, and pleasure. Surely that's worth a little extra time spent cleaning things up?